The total production capacity of the seven major manufacturers of superabsorbent polymers was more than 1.3 million tons per year in 2005 compared to 1.2 million in 2004, representing an 8.7% increase. Production capacity of the major manufacturers is shown in Table 1. And, total production capacity in the world including manufacturers other than those listed in the table is presumed to be about 1.4 million.
Nippon Shokubai and San-Dia Polymers constructed new factories in China in 2005 and began producing there. These are currently the only two companies producing SAP in China. Stockhausen, the second-largest producer of SAP (to BASF) has increased capacity in North Carolina by 40,000 tons in April, bringing its U.S. production from 135,000 to 175,000 tons per year. This expansion, along with the two Chinese sites, has increased production capacity of SAP in the world by 90,000 tons per year in total. Moreover, Sumitomo Seika chemicals has added10,000 tons per year to its Japanese production.
Regional production capacities in the world, shown in Table 1, are 475,00 tons per year in the U.S., 345,000 tons per year in Europe and 497,000 tons per year in Asia. By marketshare, the U.S. represents 36.1%; Europe accounts for 26.2% and Asia represented 37.7%. Major manufacturers, including Nippon Shokubai, intend to increase their capacity in 2006-2007. Nippon Shokubai is planning to install a Japanese facility with a 30,000 ton-per-year capacity as well as a plan in Belgium with 30,000 ton annual output. This will make Nippon Shokubai the leading company in the world with a total production capacity of 350,000 tons per year, overtaking BASF. Sumitomo Seika chemicals intends to increase its facilities in Singapore by 20,000 tons, bringing its annual capacity to 112,000 tons, including its domestic capacity. Stockhausen plans to establish another facility in Germany in 2007. San-Dia Polymers is at full operation now, although it has just begun production in China and this facility is expected to be expanded by the end of this year or next year at the latest.
rnThe total production capacity of the seven major companies is 1.3 million tons per year. Of these, Japanese manufacturers account for 40% or 527,000 tons annually. In 2006, the total production capacity of the seven companies is presumed to increase to 1.3 billion tons per year and the share of Japanese manufacturers will rise to 43.5% or 607,000 tons per year. The three Japanese companies, BASF, Stockhausen and Dow Chemical are competing in the SAP market and the competition among these six manufacturers will become even more severe in the future.